Today’s post is inspired by something that happened just three hours ago. A coworker of mine came by my job to tell me they were let go even though they were out on workers comp. This might not sound like a big deal but it is to me because I have an open worker’s comp case.
For those of you who don’t know, earlier this year I was injured by a washing machine. Since I was injured while working I filed a workers comp claim. So with my back story out of the way let’s talk about my former coworker’s story. They were injured a year ago and missed six months of work last year and only had only two sessions of physical therapy. They came back to work and in march they finally got approval for their surgery because their injury never healed. After the surgery they did one round of therapy. Their second round of therapy was never approved. Back in September they were issued a letter that stated if they did not return to work they forfeit their job. Sounds like they abandoned their job but the doctor never cleared them to return to work. So the doctor who was assigned to them by workers comp said they were unfit to return to work yet they were fired for not returning to work. I would have thought this to be a stroke of bad luck but being on workers comp myself has changed my view on the topic.
As you can probably tell I don’t like worker’s comp and that is correct. Being on workers comp sucks. That’s the short version so let’s go over the long version. I was injured back in May and I was misdiagnosed as having only a sprained shoulder. You might be thinking that I should have went to a better doctor which is true if I was able to chose my own doctor. When you are on workers comp, they pick the doctor that you visit. After a month of constant pain I went back to visit the doctor and was told I just needed physical therapy and that their office would get back to me. Four weeks later I received a call from a new doctor’s office and we set an appointment. I thought I was going in to start physical therapy but I was in for a surprise. The doctor was shocked to hear that I had lived with the injury for two months and have not had a MRI. The doctor had me take a MRI and through that we found out that I did not have a sprained shoulder but a labrum tear. Now that my problem was correctly identified I was sent to therapy. After my first round of therapy was completed I revisited my doctor and was prescribed more therapy. I went from two visits a week to three visits a week. I was also told to get an MRI for my neck. The day before I was set to start my new round of therapy I received a call saying my therapy was not approved. I immediately called my case worker and they did not pick up so I left a message. I finally was able to get in contact with my case worker (three days later) and was told to call the next day because they had just resubmitted my request. I was surprised the next day because once again I was able to speak to my case worker. I was then told that the case worker has meant for me to call on Monday instead of that day (Friday). Monday came and guess what, my case worker did not pick up.
So since I’m starting a new paragraph you probably think that was the end of my story. Nope, I just felt the last paragraph was long enough. I spent the next five business days calling my case worker. I ended up calling them over twenty times. I left a message every single time, they were all professional messages. You may think I’m wrong for doing this; however, when you have to take muscle relaxers to fall asleep you will do whatever it takes to get better. I even hand wrote a letter and faxed it to her. After leaving their supervisor two messages I was called back. Magically my MRI and second round of therapy was approved. Goes to show you that if you get the right person anything is possible. The MRI showed that I have cervical radiculopathy and need the service of a pain management specialist (who I see on the 30th). Sounds like a happy ending but nope there is more. I have a stack of medical bills sitting on my desk (over TEN). The reason behind the bills are pretty funny. Some say that the procedure done is outside of the doctor’s expertise. Others say that the insurance company feels the doctor is charging too much for the service. So far the bills have totaled close to a thousand dollars. Good thing I have a lawyer handling my case because they are handling all of these bills. In the time it took to get my therapy approved, the location I was going to stopped offering therapy. I never got to say goodbye to the friends I made there but that’s life.
Now Josh why are you complaining you’re sitting at home collecting money from workers comp? I wish! I haven’t missed a day of work (except for initial doctor visit) since getting injured. I work for a furniture company and I still have to work. I’m on “light” duty at work. The pain is so bad that I had to move the desk phone from the right side of my desk to the left. I put the light in light duty in quotation marks because I still was forced to go on deliveries with a messed up neck and shoulder. I had to carry a sofa set down three floors to bring the same model sofa set up to the apartment. Speak up, I have no one has listened yet. So for now I’m just gritting my teeth and rolling with the punches. Welcome to life on Workers Comp.